I remember sitting in my history class, in shock and horror as I watched the images play over and over on TV. When the towers fell, my stomach dropped. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing, that someone could do something so horrible to innocent people. And I wondered what was next.
I remember crying for the people who died, for the people who survived, for the people who witnessed the tragedy first hand—those who rushed in and those who stood by in the smoke and debris, feeling utterly helpless. Having lost my brother just four months before, I knew exactly how it felt to lose someone you loved so suddenly and tragically.
I remember seeing the country pull together in the aftermath and being amazed by how much patriotism and kindness can grow out of such pain. I never saw so many flags in my life. They were on every car window and outside every home.
I remember today that freedom isn’t free. I am grateful for the men and women unselfishly serving in the U.S. military and risking their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan to protect those freedoms that we too often take for granted. Their sacrifice, and their families’ sacrifice, does not go unnoticed or unappreciated.
Tonight, I attended the 4th annual Freedom Walk at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley. I was covering the event for the paper. It was so wonderful to see that, even after eight years, people do still care and they do remember. And that they continue to support the troops, no matter what they think of the war. It was also amazing to see that of the hundreds who came out to walk, many of those were kids who were just toddlers when 9/11 hit. In talking to them, I was happy to see that even though they did not understand the magnitude of the tragedy when it happened, they understand it now. Their parents and teachers have done a good job teaching them and because of it, they realize the significance of the day and that it is not something to be forgotten.